For Whom the Bells Toll

Ever been upset, frustrated, overwhelmed, and just need to get away? Yeah, me too. I had one of those days recently, so I decided to get out of town and clear my head.

When I got home from work, without even changing my clothes, I stuffed some socks, a hoodie, a tank top, and toothbrush into my gym bag, and 5 minutes later was on the road. Drive I-70 West until the sunset was as far as my plan went. IMG_6093

After a spectacular sunset cruise through Glenwood Canyon, I spotted Glenwood Hot Springs. I went there frequently with my family when I was a kid, but hadn’t been in years so I decided to stop for a quick dip.


It felt so good to relax in the warm water under the moon and stars, but my fingers eventually started to prune so I went to find food.


I left the hot springs a little before 10pm, when I saw a Village Inn across the street and suddenly HAD to have french toast and bacon! All alone, with soaking wet hair, smudged makeup, and an oversized hoodie I devoured about 1,000 calories worth of breakfast foods and some OJ. I wondered what the people in the restaurant thought when they looked at me, all haggard and somber looking, but to be honest I didn’t care what they thought. In fact, it was kinda of perfect that I looked as discombobulated as I felt inside. I felt mysterious and kind of bad ass.

After dinner, I booked a nearby hotel room off Groupon and went to bed. Tomorrow was going to bring some adventure. I just knew it.

At 6am the next morning I drove to Aspen to find my adventure. I decided to try to get to the Maroon Bells, knowing it might be a challenge in the winter. I didn’t realize that the entire road was covered in 4-5′ of snow and slush and that the only way to get there was to hike, cross-country ski or to snowmobile. I thought about renting a sled for a few hours, but decided to save my $250 and hike. Everyone I had asked and the websites I visited all agreed that it was roughly 6 miles from where the drivable road ends to Maroon Bells Lake. I stocked up on some water, food, grabbed my GoPro and decided to take on the 12 mile challenge.


When I started the hike around 8am, the path was mostly ice, and although slippery, I maintained a steady pace. After 3 or 4 miles it started to soften up and was much easier to tread on. I could feel myself starting to let go of the things that were bothering me, took some deep breathes and soaked up the quiet natural beauty all around me. I was all alone in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest person, home or business. I felt tiny and insignificant.


I knew it was a risk going alone, especially with it being the worst avalanche season in as long as I can remember, but it was a risk I was willing to take. Anyways, after hiking for nearly two hours, the slush became so soft that sometimes I sank past the top of my boots. This made it much more challenging to keep my pace, and it wore out my legs much faster. I was already beginning to feel sore, and I had pulled a muscle in my hip. I could also feel my shoulders and face burning in the spring sunshine, but it was too warm to wear my sweatshirt and beanie. After what seemed like forever, I stopped to rest for the first time. I sat on a fallen tree and stretched out my legs and back for a few minutes before continuing on my way.


The Maroon Bells were looking bigger and more majestic with every step I took. I knew I had to be getting close, but I was beginning to think they were a mirage.

FINALLY! I had made it! I passed a post marking mile number 9, and I thought to myself “That’s strange, it’s supposed to be 6 miles. They must have started counting from the bottom of the road, not from where the road closes for the winter.” As I approached the lake at the bottom of the bells, I sank deeper and deeper into the slush. I decided to keep my distance from the edge of the lake because it was hard to tell where the ground stopped and the water started. I also wanted to conserve energy for the long journey back to my car.

I stomped out a small area in the middle of the field to make a firm place to chill, tossed my hoodie and bag onto the packed slush and lay on top, staring up at the wondrous peaks in front of me. I don’t know how long I lay there, but other than the birds chirping, it was so quiet I could only hear myself breathing.


After a while, I set up my GoPro and did some handstands like I always do on my adventures. When I finally decided to head back to my car it was about 2pm. I was running out of food and water, my legs were aching and I had a long, long way to go through the sinking slush.

Mile marker after mile marker, I trudged through the soft snow. I stopped to rest on the same tree laying across the road, but the more I sat, the more my legs hurt and the hungrier I became. I kept moving. The amazing landscape all around me was the only distraction from my aching muscles and growing hunger pains. I frequently looked behind me to marvel at the Maroon Bells again and again, or maybe I was double checking that the experience I just had was real.

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More mile markers. …6,5,4… I figured since I left the bells near marker number 9, I was on my final mile or two. I couldn’t wait to take off my wet shoes, drink the coconut water I had in the car and to just sit down.

…3,2… I started to wonder what was going on as I approached mile marker number 2 instead of my car. At that point it didn’t take a genius to figure out the count had started at the base of the trail, not the base of the road, and it was a lot further than I prepared for. Finally there was a pink ribbon attached to a wooden post which I assumed stood for mile number one. **Sigh** Instead of the 12 miles I had planned for, I hiked a total of 19 miles! I had never been so happy to see my car in my life, and immediately tore my wet boots and socks off. My feet felt raw on the bottom so I drove all the way home in my spare socks. Shoes of any kind were not an option.

Even though I was physically exhausted, mentally I felt calm, clear and ready to head home and deal with reality. The struggle I had felt those last few miles had pushed me beyond my comfort zone and to a new personal level. All in all, I was stoked on my adventure and recognized the significance of what I had just accomplished.

“Be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It might not be easy, but it’s a small price to pay for living the dream.”





Get Back Up

Sorry if this sounds cliche, but I was recently reminded of how important it is to get back up when you fall. Actually, I’m not sorry. Getting back up is important – in life, in love, in sports, in everything. Getting back up and trying again is the most important thing you can possibly do.

The other day I crashed hard on my snowboard, hit my head, and ended up with a pounding headache, a black eye, and a bruised ego. The way I see it, I’m very lucky. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, or crashed a different way, I could’ve been seriously injured. After taking a break to make sure I was ok, I hopped back on the chairlift and went straight for the trick again… and I nailed it. Even though I was still shaken up, I was pumped. I knew I had it all along; I just needed to show myself. Enjoy the video of my crash 🙂


On a more personal note, I recently decided to open my heart for the first since it was smashed to pieces nearly two years ago, when my relationship of 7 years ended. I’m excited that I’ve found someone who makes me want to break down the walls I’ve built to guard my emotions, but risking getting hurt again scares the hell out of me. Most of me feels like the risk will be worth the reward, part of me feels like I’m just waiting to catch and edge and fall flat on my back, again. Let’s hope not… that hurts… a lot.

What I’m saying is that some things in life are much easier and much faster to come back from than others. It doesn’t matter how fast you fall or how slow you get up. What matters is that you do, and you do it for you… no one else.

I finally got back up. This time better. This time stronger. This time ready. And even if I fall again, there is only one thing to do…. get back up and try again.

“You cannot let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

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Friends on a Powder Day

Yesterday was the first time I saw the sun in almost a week. Did I care? No, because it has been snowing for days and days, leaving only one thing to do. Shred pow.

My mission? Vail.

I packed my bags, stopped by the office then made my way through a blizzard over the treacherous mountain pass. I planned on riding until 2pm and then getting some work done around Vail, but that didn’t happen. I met up with some friends, turned on my GoPro and we went hunting for the deepest snow we could find. Before I knew it, it was 4pm and the mountain was closed for the day. It turned out to be one of the most incredible days I’ve ever had on my snowboard.

I put together a short edit of the day so I could re-live the glory over and over. Check it out.

Flippin’ Fun


This weekend was one of the highlights of my season; I went to Woodward at Copper for “work”. My job has many perks, one of them being that I get to attend the events I help plan.


With the help of the amazing people at Woodward, I put on the 2013 Roxy Snow Camp, a two-day freestyle camp supervised by Copper coaches and Roxy pro Erin Comstock. I have looked up to Erin for many years. Her unique snowboard style, her relaxed attitude and her dedication to women’s freestyle snowboarding has secured her position as a legend in my eyes. This summer, while interning in Huntington Beach for the Roxy Snow Marketing department I worked on a project where I sorted through 10 years of her video footage. It took me 70 hours, but I compiled enough footage to make a career restrospective edit for Erin and her family. Little did I know it would be used in Roxy’s national marketing campaign!

Here is the finished project: 

Anyways, needless to say I was psyched to have Erin at the camp I was running. She was awesome. The highlight of riding with her was when I followed her through the trees in 18″ of fresh snow. It was epic! Definitely a day I will never forget. Each morning, before we went on snow we played in the Woodward Barn. Trampolines, foam pits, synthetic snow jumps and spring floors are only a few of the goodies offered at the barn. Backflips are surprisingly easy and super fun! I must have flipped 50 times between the two days. I even learned rodeo 540, a backflip with a half spin.


All in all, the camp was a success and I became friends with my all-time favorite athlete, Erin Comstock. She and her husband just moved to Denver, and we are going to start doing Bikram Yoga together to get ready for summer! I can’t wait. 537722_10152640072235543_1172896043_n

Let it snow

Only 9 days until snowmaking starts and I can barely contain my excitement! I had an amazing summer, but now I’m ready for an EPIC winter. Last year was the driest year I’ve ever seen, and I did not get my powder fix. But what can ya do? After all I can’t make it snow, so decided to work with what I had and step up my freestyle skills instead. Here is a short edit my friend put together for me last spring. LoRidin’ 2011-12